Christmas messages from Sheffield MP'sÂ

Members of Parliament in Sheffield have shared their Christmas messages as they look forward to 2019.Â

Friday, 21st December 2018, 17:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th January 2019, 15:49 pm
Gill Furniss, MP for Brightside & Hillsborough. Picture: Andrew Roe/The Star

'Looking to the future of Sheffield' '“ Gill Furniss, MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough 

As this year draws to a close, we remember the busy and vibrant year Sheffield and my constituency of Brightside and Hillsborough has had.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts.

Throughout the year I have been privileged to meet inspirational people across Brightside and Hillsborough and learn more about the work they are doing to improve their communities and help those most in need.

Many are tackling the biggest issues in our city today '“ the volunteers in food banks tackling hunger, advisers at our citizen's advice bureaus helping people with the impact of Universal Credit and activists fighting back against knife crime in their communities.

Knife crime is a huge issue in many parts of Sheffield and we must continue to support the people that are leading the solutions to it.

We saw great successes including on transport, culture and education '“ with a brand new school being built for children of all ages in Burngreave in my constituency.

Louise Haigh, Sheffield Heeley MP

As we look forward to 2019 it is also important to look back and remember all of those that have worked hard to make Sheffield a safer and more vibrant city. Our hardworking emergency service and NHS staff, council workers and all those working in our communities.

I will continue to work hard in 2019 to represent my constituents locally and in Parliament and look forward to working with many in our community in achieving success for our area.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 

Angela Smith MP.

'˜May you live in less dangerous times' '“ Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East 

As we live through the Brexit arguments it would be easy to despair.

People '“ whatever their view on the issue '“ are getting increasingly frustrated but it isn't possible to underestimate the impact of these decisions on the future of Sheffield and particularly our younger generations.

Meanwhile, it is clear that the whole Brexit process has brought an economic slowdown and a shuddering halt to many urgent public policy decisions.

Paul Blomfield, MP Sheffield Central

The latest financial reports from internet retailers '“ like Barnsley-based ASOS '“ show that it is not just the High Street that is struggling as people hold off spending. All across South Yorkshire, you can find companies which have delayed investment because of the Brexit uncertainty, and this will have a negative impact on economic growth and on jobs for many years to come.

For those of us who can remember the collapse of so many of our steel and engineering firms in the 1970s and 1980s, when so many household names disappeared for ever, the future of our  industry and our ability  to export are absolutely key. We still have too few businesses and jobs to match the highly qualified local workforce and we need more training opportunities to improve the skills and pay levels of the population in general.

We have some excellent examples of what can be achieved when councils, education institutions at the forefront of technological change, skills providers, and businesses and entrepreneurs do get their act together.

The development of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, with its 600-place apprentice training facility, is a world leader . Who would have thought we are training apprentices on this scale once again and the University has significantly expanded its Engineering Department.

The opening of plants by Rolls Royce, Boeing and McLaren and the proposal for an innovation corridor stretching from the Olympic Legacy Park to the Doncaster-Sheffield Airport are some of the many positives already happening. The Olympic Legacy Park has the pioneering Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre.

Firms such as Forgemasters, Outukumpu and Tinsley Bridge have kept in business with high quality products all needing exports to succeed.

There are real and exciting opportunities  for the New Year but they are still fragile. 54% of Sheffield's export go to the EU.

That's why I will not vote for any Brexit proposal which I think puts this renewal at risk. I hope that the new year is a very happy for Sheffield people and our industry.

 

'˜Continue the fight to tackle violence' '“ Louise Haigh, MP for Sheffield Heeley 

Christmas should be a relaxing time to spend with loved ones but, sadly, that won't be the case for many people in our area.

Throughout 2018, I've heard from local people at their wits ends as they struggle to get by on low pay and meagre social security. For some, the rollout of Universal Credit last month will make it even more difficult to buy presents for their children and put a decent meal on the table this Christmas.

My office serves as a drop-off point for donations to local food banks, and it's been heartening to see people give so generously in the run up to the holidays. I'm grateful to the dedicated food bank volunteers who work tirelessly to help those in need and I will continue, of course, to do whatever I can to support them.

Nevertheless, it's obscene that food banks need to exist at all in the fifth-richest country in the world.

Christmas will also be difficult for those who've lost loved ones this year. Sheffield suffered an unprecedented rise in violent crime in 2018, which tragically saw people murdered on our streets.

My heart goes out to all those affected and I'll continue to work with local police to tackle this awful violence.

After eight years of government cuts to frontline policing, some 21,000 officers, 6,800 PCSOs and 18,000 police staff have left the police. Neighbourhood policing, which helps to prevent crime, has been undermined.

One of my hopes for 2019 is that the police in Sheffield, and throughout the country, are given the resources they need to keep people safe but that seems highly unlikely under the current government.

In 2019, I'll also continue my campaign to improve local bus services. Public transport needs to serve the needs of communities and give people easy access to vital services like GPs surgeries, but our privatised bus system frequently prioritises profit over passengers. I'm working to change that for people in our area.

I hope that 2019 bring the change that the country needs and I wish everyone all the very best for the holidays and the New Year. For as long as the Tories cling on to power, I'll continue to stand up for Sheffield.

 

'˜Let's fix Brexit in the New Year' '“ Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge 

Season's Greetings to all Star readers!

2018 will always be remembered as the year that Britain went into crisis.

The Government's ability to pass legislation in Parliament was brought into question, thanks to the threat by the DUP's ten MPs to sever the agreement they have with Theresa May to support the Tories on significant issues.

They voted recently against the Government, for instance, on amendments to the Finance Bill and have threatened to abandon their commitment all together if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved with the Northern Ireland backstop in place.

To make things worse, deep and profound divisions within Tory ranks led recently to a vote of confidence in the Prime Minister. She survived but is weakened, with her position looking increasingly precarious.

And of course Parliament is deadlocked on Brexit, as far as May's Withdrawal Agreement is concerned.

No wonder, then, that many commentators are now referring to this crisis as the worst since Suez. Our country, which most of us would have described as having a strong, mature democratic culture and as being stable in every way, suddenly feels very different.

Events move fast and combine with a chronic lack of decent political leadership to create a volatile situation in which anything seems possible.

Brexit, of course, is at the heart of it. It goes without saying, therefore, that the first and most important step in getting out of this mess is to sort out this issue.

This is not easy because Theresa May's failure to reach out and build a political consensus on the way forward means that Parliament has deepened its divisions.

In addition, her '˜red lines' have boxed her in, forcing her into an agreement that nobody is happy with and which effectively kicks down the road key decisions about the nature of our future trading relationship.

The first and most urgent priority is to fix Brexit. And given that we all now know much more about what Brexit actually means, it is entirely sensible to put the decision back to the people.

Let the people decide whether the leave deal on the table is one they can support, with the status quo applying if the agreement is rejected. There is nothing undemocratic about going back to the people and giving them the final say on the way forward.

On this basis, the divisions afflicting Parliament can be overcome and the country can move on.

Let us, therefore, enjoy Christmas but then bring in the New Year with a resolve to move on from crisis. Happy New Year!

 

'˜Celebrating Sheffielders doing great stuff' '“ Paul Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central

I've lived in Sheffield for most of my life from the age of nine, but being elected as an MP eight years ago gave me a new insight into our city.

It's provided an opportunity to see much more of the extraordinary generosity and selfless commitment of so many people.

This year has shown it again. The young carers that I took to meet the Prime Minister were an inspirational group; looking after disabled parents, some from the age of seven, they did Sheffield proud in making their case to Theresa May on how their lives could be improved.

Opening '˜The Sanctuary', I was struck by the enormous commitment of so many Sheffielders who give their time and energy to help those seeking refuge from war and persecution. At the Manor Community Awards, I saw the energy of volunteers working to support others within their area.

Students are an important part of the city's mix too, making up 10% of the population, and I was impressed by the commitment of Hallam University students to get engaged in making lives better when I spoke at their conference on '˜Sheffield: A city united by difference'.

The two young women from our '˜Children in Care Council', who I took on a tour of Parliament after they had received a prestigious award for their work developing resources to provide an insight into what it's like to be a young person in care, fully deserved the national recognition .  

Over the last three weeks, I've been overwhelmed by the generosity of those who've given so generously to my Christmas Appeal for the Children of Yemen, who are facing starvation in a conflict brought closer to us by the strong Yemeni-origin community in the city.

Call it '˜social capital' or call it '˜people doing great stuff, Sheffield's got it in abundance.

As we look ahead to the challenges of 2019, and there will be many, we should celebrate the strength we draw from those who give so much of their time to supporting others '“ and we should all ask ourselves what more we can do to help them.

Contributions can be made to Paul's Christmas Appeal for the Children of Yemen, through his website at www.paulblomfield.co.uk